Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beautiful Hand-Stitching

 This past spring when my mother fell and broke her ankle so severely, I knew she would have a hard time "just sitting" for 2 months while it healed. She likes to be active and doing, and has never been one to sit idly.

Instead of sending her flowers I tried to think of a gift to help her wile away the long hours of being immobilized. She has always enjoyed embroidery, so I chose an embroidery kit for this set of pillowcases. I thought the lacy ferns and Queen Ann's Lace flowers were so pretty. Mother's favorite color is green. Not only that, the kit was on sale, which I knew would satisfy her frugal heart!

I selected the skeins of DMC floss the pattern called for, and took the kit along with me when I went to stay with her. The minute I presented it to her, she sent me off to hunt for an embroidery hoop in her sewing room. I never did find the one she described, but I found one that would work, so she got started on them right away.

Being such a detailed, intricate pattern, it turned out to be quite time-consuming. But that was okay, at first, because Mother didn't have much else to do besides just sit. She was still working on the second one when they came to see us earlier this month (though she had been back on her feet for a month or two by then).

She finished that second pillowcase while they were here, and then she presented the set to me! I hadn't meant for her to do that, but she said they went with my quilt so nicely that she wanted me to have them.

I have to admit, they really do. I think they are beautiful! She does such exquisite stitching.

Thank you, Mother, for re-gifting your gift back to me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Evening Musings

Photo credit: Laura @ Through My Eyes
The weather in my neck of the woods: 
Unusual. We've had several thunderstorms interspersed with hot, dry days this month. Before that we had a wet, rainy spring. But just normal, gray drizzly rain, not the dramatic thunder and lightning we've been experiencing lately.

Outside my window:
I hear the voices of my children and their daddy as laugh and talk together. The ice cream truck is going down the street playing a tinkly version of The Entertainer.

 Things that make me happy: 
Having time on the weekends to do things together as a family.

 Books I'm reading: 
Gospel by J.D. Greear
Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney
We Had Everything But Money from Reiman Publications

 On the menu for dinner: 
Hamburgers on the grill, I think. And maybe a cucumber/onion salad. That sounds good.

Recent projects completed:
We took the vinyl decals off our travel trailer. They were cracked and peeling, and made the trailer look older than 6 years. Over several weekends we then buffed and waxed the exterior. Not sure if we will put on new decals or not.
I also finished and mailed the order I had for 100 washcloths. So...

 In the craft basket: 
I'm building my washcloth inventory back up and adding in some new color combinations for my Etsy shop. I also have a half-knitted sweater to complete, and an embroidery wall-hanging to finish.

On my To Do List: 
Finish getting my office organized. I've made good progress, but now it's time to tackle the boxes marked "Misc." Such fun. I also need to get my website updated. It's time to renew my domain, so it seems like a good time.

 Looking forward to this week: 
Our second camping trip of the season this weekend. I'm hoping to have time to jot down a rough outline for the novel I hope to start soon. I think once I get the framework together the writing will come easier.

 On my mind: 
Lots of fun activities mixed in with long hours of work for the rest of the summer. Our calendar is pretty full for two months out. Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Summer I was 16

The summer I was 16 I almost met my future husband. It happened like this:

 Every four years our denomination held a General Convention. This was where the preachers and important laymen in the church got together and took care of church business. For us teenagers, it was a chance to socialize with other young people with similar church background.

This was a good fifteen years before the internet went mainstream, and well before practically everybody carried a phone around in their pockets. So we wrote letters. With a stamp. Mailed at the post office. And waited a week or more for a reply. Hard to imagine, isn't it? I had several friends I wrote to regularly, including my aunt Rachel (who was 18 that summer and had just graduated from high school), and my friend, Denise (who was also 16).

That was the year for our General Convention and we girls were eagerly looking forward to it. Mostly with the hopes of finding a boyfriend, though we didn't admit that out loud to very many people. Rachel already had her eye on a guy she had got acquainted with the previous fall, but I wasn't sure exactly who to be interested in.

My family lived in Ohio at the time, and the convention was in Wichita, Kansas. We had borrowed a pop-up camper to stay in on the campgrounds. As we were setting up, I noticed a young man sitting behind the wheel of the little car parked by the trailer in the next camp site. I didn't know who he was. Dad was out socializing and when he came back he told us that was "Brother Cook, the general treasurer, from California" next door.

"I bet that Cook boy likes to drive," was my first impression. I wondered how old he was. He never was in the group of young people we hung out with, so I didn't think too much more about him. I was too busy running around with Denise, having a good time speculating about boys.

Rachel and "Mr. Romantic Porch" quickly hit it off so I didn't see too much of her. And by the end of the week one of the other boys had asked to sit with Denise.

 No one seemed very interested in me. I was too tall, kinda geeky with over-size glasses, and probably not the most brilliant conversationalist. I figured I would probably never get married. It was quite depressing.

And then, on the very last day, as I walked across the campground... that Cook boy winked at me! In that instant I knew that was the man I was going to marry.

That was 30 years ago this summer. And here we are... living happily ever after!

Except that part about the wink? That never happened. He was very reserved and, being from California, didn't know any of the other young people, which is why he wasn't part of the group I hung out with. Of course I had no way of knowing that I had been eyeing my future husband all week.

"That Cook boy" never even knew I existed until the next spring. He doesn't remember seeing me in Wichita the summer of 1982.

But the happily ever after part? That part is true!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In My Work Basket

My take-along project this summer has been a custom order I received through my Etsy shop for 100 crocheted washcloths. I love making them, and they are small enough to carry along with me to work on at odd moments in the car or whatever.

"Why in the world would anyone need 100 washcloths?" you might ask. Good question! My customer is a bride-to-be and she plans to use them for favors at her wedding, tied up with a hand-made bar of soap that she will make herself. Isn't that a charming gift? She needs them by the first part of September, and I am on target to have them finished well ahead of schedule.

As soon as I finish this order, I am eager to get some new sets made up in the lovely colors I've added to my yarn stash lately. My mother says having that much yarn on hand would overwhelm her. But then I reminded her that she has more fabric on hand than that. So I guess she could could relate.

If I get my washcloth inventory worked up far enough ahead, I have plans to branch out into crocheted bridal and baby accessories eventually. So many pretty patterns and ideas on Pinterest keep me motivated. But that may be more than I end up having time for. We'll just have to see.

I opened my Etsy shop last August, and it's been even more fun than I expected! Good thing, because I sure don't make much money for my time. It's more of a hobby. But that's okay. At least I feel productive "after hours" this way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Up the Mountain

On Saturday Lyle and I decided we would take my parents (and our kids) to ride the "world's longest gondola." At breakfast we told them we had a surprise outing planned for the day. They should bring a jacket, a hat, and a camera. (Turns out the jackets were unnecessary, but in north Idaho you just never know. Even in the middle of July. Especially in the mountains.) When we arrived in Kellogg I went into the ski shop to buy the tickets. A friend had given me 4 passes to ride the gondola but they were very old. As in maybe 10 or 15 years old. She had hung on to them for a long time before passing them along to me about two years ago, as they no longer live in the area. But the passes didn't have an expiration date printed on them, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to see if the Mountain would honor them. The lady at the ticket counter didn't hesitate to accept them but she did comment on how old they were. She told me they don't even make them that way any more. (Turns out they had been printed all those years ago at the print shop where my husband works!) Now they print them on site with a bar code and an expiration date. Anyway, I was more than happy to save the $43!
So up the mountain we went. It was pretty warm inside the gondola cars, but we were able to open the windows, so it wasn't too bad.
When we got to the top of the gondola we had hoped to ride the chair lift on up to the fire tower, which we have done other years when we've gone up in the summer. My parents opted to wait for us at the Mountain Haus. However, we learned that the Mountain no longer runs that chair lift in the summer. It's still possible to hike to the fire tower, but we didn't want to take the time to do that. So we went for a short hike on a nature trail.
Then we headed back to the Mountain Haus for cold drinks and a light lunch on the deck. Cookie had come along with us, so we were glad to find a cool, shady spot to sit outside where she could be with us. Besides, the scenery was too gorgeous to go inside.

We especially enjoyed sharing an order of Idaho Style Nachos, made with crispy fried potatoes instead of tortilla chips. Such a healthy lunch, don't you think? It was yummy, though.

As we prepared to board the gondola for the ride down the mountain I happened to run into my dentist's assistant. We visited for a minute or two. She told me she was coordinating a wedding and was waiting for the bride and groom to arrive. I had noticed a sign at the ski shop at the bottom directing members of the wedding party to proceed directly to the gondola, and on our hike we saw where the chairs for the ceremony were set up. Such a gorgeous setting for a wedding.

While we were riding back down we saw the silver VIP car coming up. When it got close enough to see in through the windows we saw that it was the bride and some of her attendants. Other attendants were in cars following. (Each car seats 6-8 people and they only use the silver VIP car for, well, Very Important People, I guess. Other cars are green and blue.)

Then it occurred to me. We could have stayed at the top long enough to see the bridal party arrive. I mean, I should have known they would be up shortly since the wedding coordinator was standing there with the flowers waiting on them. It would have been fun to lurk in a corner and discreetly gawk. Too bad I didn't think of it sooner! We "girls" would have enjoyed it, anyway. I expect the men were just as happy that we had gone on about our business.
It was a fun summer adventure that I'm sure we'll all remember for a long time. I'm glad we got to go.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Etsy Treasuries

Currently, my Etsy shop is stocked with sets of cotton washcloths in a variety of colors. I hope to branch out again later in the fall, but right now I'm working to fulfill a large custom order... and then I want to get some new colors worked up and listed. I'm still enjoying the community at Etsy, and I love it when other Etsians feature my products in their treasuries. Here are some treasuries that have featured my washcloths recently.

The Color of Snow
 Into the Woods
 Summer Getaway
 Olive Dream
 Old Friends are Best - My Dad's Favorite Blue
 Go Green with Bioteam!
 Are you goin' to Scarborough Fair?
 Simply Sage
 Green After the Rain
 Peachy Keen, Jelly Bean
 Simple Joys

Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Day Festivities

We enjoyed a full day of family, friends, and fun. It was a very traditional, all-American 4th of July.

The kids were in the Coeur d'Alene parade, marching with the Spirit of '45 organization which honors local World War II veterans.
 It's been years since we had been to a parade on Independence Day. I love watching a parade, but don't usually enjoy fighting the crowd.
My parents are visiting this week from Arkansas, so that added to the fun. Dad has a nice camera. He took lots of pictures so the kids could see some of the other entries in the parade (since they were in it).
 Afterwards, the kids were invited to hang out at a friend's house for the afternoon. They enjoyed horse-back riding (a rare treat for them) in addition to other activities.
 They came home worn out and sun-burned, but ready for a barbecue supper...
 ...and fireworks!
I was ready to head for bed long before they were.

God bless America!

(My friend, Farrah, posted more pictures of our day on her blog, Light in the Sphere.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Falling Water

Happy Independence Day!

It's 7:00a.m.-ish and the temperature is currently 44 degrees. My parents arrived for a visit yesterday. They live in Arkansas where it has been oh-so-much hotter and drier. This morning when we got up my dad told me that our air conditioner works good. Ha. The only air conditioner we have is a small window unit that's not even currently hooked up. I love living where we can have the windows open all summer long. I do feel for those of you who live in other parts of the country where the weather is at the opposite extreme. We have had so much more than our share of rain this year. I would gladly send some your way if I could.

On Sunday we took a day trip to visit some more water falls in the area. (We had visited Copper Falls the week before while we were camping.) Some of the rivers are at flood stage, so the falls are pretty dramatic this year. 

Our main destination was Kootenai Falls which we have visited several times before. The river was so high that the falls were almost hidden. That's an awful lot of water.
The other one we visited was a new one for us. Lyle had referred to hisWaterfall Lover's Guide for directions to Snow Creek Falls.
We found Snow Creek but couldn't figure out where the trail was, according to the book. Finally, we had given up and were headed back to the main highway when I had the idea we should check to see if there were any geocaches in the area. Turns out there was a micro-cache on the trail to the falls, so by following the directions on we finally did find the trail-head. The directions in the book were simply out-dated.

It was quite a hike to get to the viewing points for the Lower and Upper Falls. Not only that, but it was a damp day and kept trying to rain. The tree coverage was pretty heavy so we didn't get soaked, but it was definitely an adventure. We never did find the cache. I'm not sure why anyone would bother with a micro-cache that deep in the forest. There are a gazillion places it could have been, and the satellite signal wasn't much help with so many trees.

My camera battery had died so Laura was the one taking pictures. She snapped one of Lyle and me standing in front of the falls.
After she took it, she realized that her dad's face was too shadowed by his cap, so she asked him to adjust it so she could take more. And she did, but I still liked this one best. 

I usually don't like pictures of myself. (Do any of us?) I thought the picture I had been using for my Facebook profile was just a little too posed. This one was much more natural. I decided to crop my face out to use for my profile. I used Photoshop to lighten it up a little. I was surprised at how many comments I got after I posted it. One friend even said she liked my hair. Which made me laugh because I had done absolutely nothing to it that day. I had washed it that morning, ran a comb through it, and let it air dry. By the time the picture was taken it had been scrunched and wind-blown, and I had just shoved my sunglasses up on my head. I guess I'm just a natural kinda girl.

Now we're off to celebrate our independence with lots of festivities. Talk to you later.